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Frances Esemplare, professionally credited as Frances Ensemplare, (September 3, 1934 – December 9, 2017) was an American actress best known for her multi-episode recurring role as Marianucci "Nucci" Gualtieri, mother of Paulie Gualtieri (played by Tony Sirico) on The Sopranos from 2001 until 2007.[1]

Frances Esemplare
Frances Spalluto

(1934-09-03)September 3, 1934
DiedDecember 9, 2017(2017-12-09) (aged 83)
Other namesFrances Ensemplare
Spouse(s)Gaetano Esemplare

Esemplare, a resident of Staten Island, New York, was born Frances Spalluto.[1] Beginning in 2001, she was cast as Nucci Gualtieri, mother of mobster Paulie Gualtieri, on the HBO television series, The Sopranos. First introduced as Paulie Gualtieri's elderly mother, it is later revealed in the series that she is actually Gualtieri's aunt, who adopted her nephew as a child. Frances Esemplare debuted in the May 2001 episode, Army of One, and her character remained on the show until Kennedy and Heidi in May 2007. Esemplare appeared in nine episodes during her recurring role on the series, from season 3 to season 6.

Frances Esemplare died on December 9, 2017, at the age 83. She was survived by her son, Anthony, and predeceased by her husband, Gaetano, and daughter, Carol Lee. Esemplare was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, on December 13, 2017.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Frances Esemplare obituary". Staten Island Advance. 2017-12-12. Archived from the original on 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2018-01-03.

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